After a short split prologue showing riches as the root of evil in ancient and modern times, the film settles into 1914 France, where the Orient Express is about to be wrecked when a bridge washes out. Among those on board are Al and Travis, Americans who are traveling Europe spending Travis' money, and Marie, a German girl. The boys save Marie after the wreck and Travis falls in love with her. When World War I breaks out Al wants to enlist, but Travis can't, feeling loyal to Marie, a German. By 1917 Al has enlisted, and Travis follows him shortly after marrying Marie. Accused of being a German spy by a Russian agent, she is sentenced to die but is recognized by Travis, who is part of the firing squad. The town they are in is shelled and they are all trapped underground, during which a minister makes a lengthy parallel to ancient times when the King of Akkad persecuted his subjects and defied Jehovah, who finally sends a flood to wipe out mankind, except for Noah and his family, whom ... Written by
Ron Kerrigan <,email@example.com>
The "premiere" version, running 135 minutes, ran only at the opening engagement in Hollywood. By the time of the New York premiere some weeks later, the film had been trimmed by over 30 minutes. At least some of the cuts were of Vitaphone talking sequences that didn't work well. In particular, Paul McAllister (Noah/Minister) fared poorly, as all his talking scenes were removed. See more »
This war is more than just a fight. It's more like a funeral. And everybody ought to be in the procession or the hearse.
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Extraordinary epic silent (part-talkie) -very very impressive
Michael Curtiz' direction is of such exceptional calibre that one is completely absorbed into the parallel stories from the first to last frame. Everything about this late silent (it is a part talkie with two talking sequences mid way through)is exceptional- the sets, the editing, the special effects, the writing, the earnest performances from all in the cast (especially Dolores Costello). Why it is not hailed along with other anti-war classics of the silent screen (FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE, BIG PARADE, WINGS) is difficult to understand. I viewed the restored print of 100 minutes that was a joint effort of a number of archives, domestic and foreign, and played on TCM. (It originally premiered at 135 minutes and a shorter 75 minute version was re-released in the 1970s). For anyone who loves silent film, epics, or just plain exceptional film making, this is a must-see.
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